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Term of the Week: Gamification

What is it?

The use of game-based mechanics, dynamics, aesthetics, and game thinking to engage people, motivate action, promote learning, and solve problems. Gamification applies gaming principles to more traditional learning methods, in contrast with game-based learning, which presents learning content in a game format.

Why is it important?

Gamification is a powerful technique for motivating individuals to engage in a variety of activities, including learning. Popular apps, such as Duolingo (, have successfully applied the techniques of gamification to keep people motivated and learning.

Why does a business professional need to know this?

Employee and customer engagement is a huge challenge for many organizations. In a distraction-filled economy, it’s hard to both attract and maintain attention. Gamification techniques and the process of thinking like a game designer can be helpful in a variety of business contexts, from designing products to educating employees to maintaining customer loyalty.

Correctly applying game elements can improve employee engagement. You can start with a specific objective in mind, such as reducing quality-control errors or increasing sales, then apply game elements, such as creating meaningful stories, creating points, providing badges, creating a leaderboard, and fostering collaboration.

One of the big myths about gamification is that it’s about playing games. It is not. It’s about using elements from games but not creating an entire game. One of the best ways to sell gamification is to talk about the high level of engagement that gamification encourages. If you can sell that basic idea, you can then run a pilot study to determine the impact of using gamification within your organization.

Don’t go all in on gamification until you understand how your corporate culture will react to gamified approaches. No two corporate cultures are the same, so a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work. Gamification needs to be carefully planned and executed to be successful.


About Karl Kapp

Photo of Karl Kapp

Karl Kapp, EdD, is a professor of Instructional Technology at Commonwealth University in Bloomsburg, PA. He is recognized worldwide as a pioneer in the gamification of learning and is an award-winning international keynote speaker, consultant, and gamification entrepreneur. He is author of over a dozen books including The Gamification of Learning and Instruction and a dozen LinkedIn Learning Courses. Karl is founder of The Wisdom Learning Group and consults internationally with Fortune 500 companies, governments, and not-for-profits.

Term: Gamification



Twitter: @kkapp



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